Neville dismisses Grealish talk as starting XI ‘irrelevant’

Date published: Saturday 19th June 2021 7:56 - Sarah Winterburn


Gary Neville says talk of Gareth Southgate’s England selection is ‘irrelevant’ because there was ‘something missing’ on the pitch that would not have been fixed by personnel changes.

While many said that Jack Grealish should have started the game and his ITV colleague Ian Wright was baffled by the substitution of Phil Foden, Neville says that there is something wrong with England that is much deeper than tactics or selections.

“It was a really poor performance,” Neville told ITV. “(There was) Massive disappointment in this ground and it was underpinned by the poor physical levels shown.

“I don’t know what Gareth will be thinking in terms of how he corrects that for the next game because they looked lethargic.

“I don’t know, was it too big for them in terms of expectation? For a few of those lads it was probably the biggest game they’ve played in.”

Neville may well have been referring to the midfield partnership of West Ham’s Declan Rice and Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips, dismissed as two similar by Graeme Souness.

England 0-0 Scotland: Rating the players

“Sometimes all the media before the game can sometimes mentally take it out of you. I have to say from the very first few minutes the balls played towards Dykes and Adams they got encouragement from that.

“England never won the ball high up the pitch and the three midfield players for Scotland, they were better on the ball than the three midfield players for England.

“Pickford handled himself well in set pieces and made a few good saves, he was the only one who I can think of played at the level (required). All over the pitch Scotland were better and those physical levels need looking at because they were so lacklustre.

“I wouldn’t get too concerned about selection people will say he (Southgate) picked the wrong team but that’s irrelevant the players that were out on the pitch tonight, it wasn’t tactics, selection, or attitude, there was something missing.

“Maybe something building up to the game, the expectations playing Scotland that’s got into their heads mentally. Even when Grealish and Rashford came on there was no improvement.”

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